As we come to the close of the decade, there are the usual articles across a wide range of media that try to sum up the “00s” and look toward the “tens.” Everything from the best YouTube videos of the decade to the most influential world leaders are being summarized for us.
Many of you think back fondly to 1999, and the deluge of customers who replaced homegrown code with packaged business applications in order to stave off the threat of a Y2K meltdown. No doubt, 1999 was a great year to be in IT sales. But how many of those customers are staying current with technology, and how have those applications evolved with changing technology and standards?
More importantly, how can and should these applications move into the next decade? The referenced article discusses how applications adopt to open standards, integration, and new delivery models. The article concludes that “the most sought-after attribute from business application providers over the coming decade will be value-oriented customer centricity.”
While the meaning of “value-oriented customer centricity” is fairly vague, it is quite clear that Smart Business applications deliver high value on a simplified and low cost platform. That's value-oriented. And because Smart Business makes it easy to integrate applications from a variety of partners, each solution is customer-centric.
As partners in the Smart Business solution, IBM and it's participating ISVs are uniquely positioned to enter the next decade with the business solutions that customers want. I look forward to our continued success together.
Last week we launched IBM Smart Business in Italy at the SMAU conference in Milan. The week began with an employee event, and continued with one-on-one
meetings, press events, and a public announcement that garnered a lot of attention.
entire IBM team in Italy
has rallied around Smart Business and created an offering that brings together the best of
IBM with some of the strongest application
providers in the country. You can take a
closer look at what we’ve done by clicking here: www.ibm.com/smartmarket/it
the team chose to focus on very discrete segments of the manufacturing
industry. We then selected a handful of
application providers who specialize in these segments, and a set of resellers
who know how to sell into this space. The objective is to start with a very targeted offering and expand out over time. In the coming quarters, you will see
additional industries targeted, and additional application providers enabled.
At SMAU, IBM had a booth with a
Smarter Planet theme which included an area dedicated to Smart Business with
seven pedastals. Each vertical industry ISV had their own pedastal
along with ACG, Italy's key launch partner, and one that featured the Italy Smart Market
with a direct connection to Smart Cubes in the IBM Milan office.
Nicola Ciniero, General Manager, IBM Italy, hosted a unique
conference session which was also broadcast live to other IBM locations across Italy.
The format of this was a discussion moderated by Marco Montemagno, a well
known business IT journalist with SkyTV in Italy, to an audience of
approximately 900 attendees (not including the IBM offices).
The press conference was attended by more than 40
business, technology, SMB and vertical industry news media and has generated
many positive press
As you watch the videos, think about any additional videos
that we might produce together. If you have ideas for producing three- to
five-minute videos about some aspect of your product running as part of a Smart
Business solution, please send an email to bISV@us.ibm.com.We’d love to produce more videos that feature
our total solution in action.
As more of you turn leads into wins, we are keenly interested in turning those wins into great references. And those references look even better when they are published as IBM case studies.
We are eager to publish Smart Business references as quickly as possible. In addition, we have a program to publish Smarter Planet case studies. As mentioned in a previous post here,As mentioned in a previous post here, Smart Business is a critical part of IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy.
If you have a reference that you think we can use for either Smart Business or the broader Smarter Planet, please click on this link: http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/references Select Partnerworld Industry Networks as the Solution Focus area, then complete the form and submit.
If you have submitted client references before, you’ll be pleased to know that we have streamlined the process. The previous form had more than 50 questions; this one has about 20. We now estimate that we can get from submission to published reference in 10 to 15 days.
It is essential that the customer says more than, “yes I have it and installed it.” We are looking for ways that Smart Business has contributed positively to their business. Once your reference is published, it will be part of a customer reference database that tens of thousands of IBM sellers and business partners access daily.
We are looking forward to building a vast collection of Smart Business references that feature your solutions. For more information on the Business Partner Client Reference Program, contact Jennifer Kinsmann at email@example.com. For more information on Smart Business, comment on this entry.
The Smart Cube Business Partner Technology Access Program (TAP) is in full swing for the x86 versions of the Smart Cube.Under this program, qualified partners can purchase a Smart Cube at a 40 percent discount.Currently, this program is only available in the United States and its territories
TAP offers selected PartnerWorld® members the ability to purchase Smart Cube servers and options at discounts off the IBM Smart Cube list price minus bid index price allowance for internal use, demonstration, or development purposes. Smart Cube Business Partners must submit rebate claims within 45-days of the invoice date in order to receive a rebate payment.
Eligible IBM products
923332USmart Cube server 7200
923356USmart Cube server 7401
Associated Smart Cube options
For more information on eligible options, refer to the Configuration and Options Guide //www-03.ibm.com/systems/xbc/cog/
To order your discounted Smart Cubes, there are two paths: one for Resellers, Solution Providers, and Systems Integrators with an IBM LOCID, and one for ISVs and other partners who do not have an IBM LOCID.
If you are an IBM Business Partner - Reseller, Solution Provider, or Systems Integrator, and have an IBM LOCID, Smart Cube qualifying products will be eligible to receive a rebate. Discount is based on list price at time of purchase. Smart Cube TAP rebate plus bid index allowance equals eligible percentage off list.The partner will submit an electronic claim form in order to receive the appropriate rebate. Complete the electronic Request Form at://prc3.tradeonemktg.com/tap/ClaimEntry.aspx
Smart Cube purchases will be validated via Smart Cube sales reporting provided by your Distributor.
IBM will issue a Smart Cube rebate check to the qualifying Smart Cube Business Partner within 6-8 weeks of receipt and approval of the Smart Cube Technology Access Request form. For questions regarding the Smart Cube Technology Access Program claim process please contact Program Headquarters at: 1-800-477-6756.
For those partners who are ISVs or do not have an IBM LOCID, you may use the appropriate forms included in this announcement. Once you complete the form, fax it to 1-800-477-6745, OR Scan and email to: Tapprogram@tradeonemktg.com along with your purchase invoice.
Questions pertaining to this offering should be directed to Tina Goodwine at firstname.lastname@example.org, Brian Kielty (alternate) at email@example.com.
Over the 4th of July holiday, I had the opportunity to spend time at a cabin in northern Minnesota.It’s a fairly remote location—only one cellular phone company serves the area and TV service is available through either satellite or antenna.The nearest town is 15 miles away, and the immediate area around the lake is served by a resort that offers a restaurant and bar, general store, gas station, rental cabins, and RV hookups.Three generations of the same family have been running this resort since the 1950s.
While I was in the general store, a couple came in to ask about the availability of rental cabins, and they were told to go see the manager at the bar who would “look in the book.”Although there was a scanning device in the general store, many items were marked with price tags.
This is not to say that the resort owners are helplessly stuck in 1980s business practices.On the contrary, they are willing to invest in technology whenever it is financially feasible and logistically practical.Their business is reasonably profitable, and they are willing to invest in infrastructure that produces measurable results.But it is also fair to say that the cool factor of Web 2.0 is lost on them.They don’t need to invest in anything—inlcuding technology—just to keep up with the Joneses.On that lake, they are the Joneses.
And they are also the perfect customer for Smart Business.Using the applications available today, one Smart Cube could manage the books for their five discrete businesses, process credit card transactions, and automate reservations for their rental properties.Smart Business makes these applications more feasible for a small business owner because the customer receives more help and support from a single source, IBM.And the Smart Cube is flexible enough to adapt to the telecommunications infrastructure available in the area.
There are thousands of businesses out there just like one.In the past, these businesses just weren’t big enough to support the number of servers that would have been required, and they certainly couldn’t have absorbed the required onsite IT support.As we’re already seeing with customers like Dream Builders, Smart Business creates new opportunities for our combined solutions and provides real return on investment for small business owners like these.
Let’s work these opportunities together. The total solution is greater than the sum of the parts.
When we began building Smart Business, social networking was just taking off.Although the technology was nascent, we designed Smart Market to make heavy use of online communities because our research said that was a future direction.
While the explosive growth of sites like Facebook and Twitter have amazed even the most jaded IT observer, there is an ongoing question over who can be counted among this burgeoning throng of users.Everyone agrees that teens and young adults comprise the bulk of the early adopters.Some studies also indicate that seniors are outpacing the middle aged in their use of these tools.So where do small business owners fit into this picture?
According to the New York Times, small business owners are quickly moving to social networking tools, and for good reason.Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are always built on personal interactions and networking.Social networking sites—whether they are built for a broad audience or a specific niche—enable SMBs to do exactly that in the virtual world.These tools play into a small business owner’s strongest skills.
The Discover Small Business Watch, a monthly index of the economic confidence of the nation's 22 million businesses with 5 or fewer employees, reported in April, 2009 that 38% of small business owners are a member of an online community, which is up 22% since October, 2007.
In that same April report, only 37% of the respondents had web sites and 55% said that they spend 3 hours or less per week on social networking.So we can conclude that these respondents are not techno-geeks glomming onto the next big trend.These are mom-and-pop businesses who carefully budget both time and money.And they see value in social networking.
And that’s where IBM’s Smart Market comes into play.From the beginning, we designed the site to provide the level of interaction and the ease of use that small business owners are looking for.But we need your contributions.In order to create a vibrant community, we need our partners contributing their expertise and insights to the general forums, the product forums, and the blogs.Additionally, we need customer feedback on your products.Please encourage your existing customers to visit Smart Market and comment on their satisfaction with your solutions.
Feel free to respond to this blog with your experiences with online communities and social networking—let’s have a discussion!
Hopefully you have been enjoying all the positive press and analyst reactions that we received following our Smart Business US launch event, which started last week at the National Small Business Week in Washington DC.This event showcases the accomplishments of small business owners from around the country, and brings together key influencers who can now help spread the word about Smart Business.
National Small Business Week included a town hall webcast led by Karen Mills, Administrator, United States Small Business Administration.During the webcast, Mills referenced Smart Business and said, “I wish I had a solution like that when I owned a small business.”
The press, analysts, and online communities have been abuzz with positive feedback, as you can see in these quotes:
"IDC analyst Frank Gens said combining hardware, software and services in a product from a single vendor is likely to be attractive to small businesses in this environment."-- Dow Jones
“We chose IBM, Intuit because it doesn’t take an army of experts to implement, manage or build upon, helping lower the cost of doing business...In fact, we expect the solution to save us $30,000 a year in operating costs,” said Joel McDowell, co-owner, The Dream Builder Company. “We feel incredibly confident knowing that we have an industry-leading accounting solution backed by a single company: IBM.”-- The Financial
"Successful Business strategy in a down economy; IBM Smart Business at national small biz week 2009" -- Sanjai Marimadaiah, Twitter
The combination of software, hardware and remote services will appeal to SMBs concerned about integrating the pieces themselves....... The market is generally underserved and will represent an increasingly important opportunity for IBM and other vendors."-- Ray Boggs, IDC analyst [IDG News Service]
"SMBs can save $20,000 over three years relative to similar Microsoft Windows-based offerings from Dell and HP. Most of that savings derives from the labor associated with deployment, maintenance and system and software management." -- ZDNet
"....it looks like IBM's leveraging the best bits of Apple's iPhone/iTunes ecosystem and using it to build a small-business-in-a-box solution." -- Fast Company
And last week’s launch events are just the beginning.Over the next six weeks, you’ll see us drive demand for applications through electronic direct marketing to more than 60,000 prospects and a media campaign that will generate 8.5 million impressions,26,000 click through search content buys, and more than 500 downloads that are application focused.
IBM’s investment in Smart Business is real, and it is finally launching in the US.We look forward to our joint success together throughout the year.
Our IBM colleagues on the support team are working with actual customers on the setup of Smart Cubes.They put together this very short video that shows the four setup steps that we’ve been describing for so many months.
As some of you are already aware, this is just part of the overall installation process; this video focuses on the Smart Cube, rather than on your application.In order to have an application running on the Smart Cube, there are some pre-installation steps required to set up the appropriate license keys and customer IDs.
In addition, once the Smart Cube is set up—that is plugged in and connected to the network as shown in the video—your application is downloaded from the IBM repository.Although we don’t have a video set to happy music for this part of the process, we are pleased with how well it is working for our partners.We’ve run through several end-to-end tests with our partners, and the results are consistently positive.
As you will learn on May 19, customers and partners alike acknowledge the Smart Business delivers a markedly better IT experience, and it starts with the set up of the Smart Cube and installation of the application software.
The Smart Business marketing team is making great progress in both the United States and India.Because Smart Business represents a fundamentally different approach to marketing for IBM, we knew that we would need to pilot several tactics, learn from each, and respond with more effective approaches.The benefit of this iterative process is starting to pay off.
In India, we began by focusing on three industries in a single region.We realized that we needed a broader scope, so we have expanded the program to the entire country and to include more industries.We also tested several variations of the Smart Market web site, and have done analysis on user behavior in the site.We are now averaging 50 ISV leads a week, up from a mere trickle of leads generated from the first marketing tactic.
Even more importantly, sales are picking up in India!We have sold Smart Cubes on both the POWER and x86 platforms, and the applications support textile manufacturing, health care, and education.
In the US, our marketing efforts are just starting to ramp up.We ran a small telemarketing campaign in March and are evaluating the results of that campaign so that we can further refine the tactics.Also in March, we published an article in IBM’s online magazine for SMB, ForwardView.This magazine reaches 80,000 midmarket customer subscribers in the US.The article described Smart Business and featured Amanda Finch our ISV partner, from Journyx.
As we begin the second quarter of 2009, we are very encouraged by the progress we’re making, by the dedication and strong support of our partners, and by the response we’re getting in the marketplace.The next three months will no doubt be exciting and more successful for all of us.Thank you for your continued support of this program.
Many of you have been asking about the relationship between IBM Smart Business and Lotus Foundations. We are developing a presentation that you will be able to use to articulate the IBM SMB strategy and the relationship between these products. In the mean time, please see the forum discussion on the IBM Smart Business Basics forum. Please let us know what you think.
Another successful Lotusphere concluded this past week, with small business solutions receiving the bulk of the attention.Lotusphere is IBM’s annual conference that focuses on the Lotus family of products, including Domino, Sametime, and Notes, and is always a high energy event.
Last year, IBM used the Lotusphere conference to announce Lotus Foundations, an email and collaboration appliance for entry level businesses.Over the course of the past year, IBM announced other products and services—most notably Smart Business—to serve all levels of small and medium businesses, from the entry level start up to the 1,000 employee midmarket company.
This year’s Lotusphere was a coming out party of sorts for all of those products.The Smart Business team provided several opportunities for customers and partners to see what we’ve got.During the Business Development Day, which is focused on partners, we provided a demo of both Smart Business and Lotus Foundations.Throughout the week, the Smart Business team provided live demos at our Expo pedestal.And the week concluded with a well attended Smart Business session.
In addition to introducing many attendees to the Smart Market, the Smart Business team also provided demos and tutorials for ISV partners on using the Integration Framework to package an application for Smart Business.Attendees were consistently impressed with how easy it is, particularly for Domino applications, to integrate to the framework.Customers liked the simplicity of the Smart Cube and the level of support provided by the Smart Desk.
With the level of interest in SMB applications, Lotusphere will no doubt continue to be a premier event for highlighting Smart Business and its partner solutions.
In the IT industry, we all think of India as a fast-moving hub of innovation. And true to form, India is leading the way for IBM Smart Business.
IBM Smart Market for India launched there on October 7 and the buzz hasn't stopped since. In the business districts of Mumbai and Pune, IBM started with a billboard campaign, print and radio advertising to draw attention to Smart Business. Soon after we added a text messaging campaign and live demos delivered on the streets of the business district by people on motorbikes. Some of these tactics are very familiar to us in the United States, while others (demos delivered via motorbike?) are new, fun, and exciting.
In addition, the Smart Business team in India has created specific tacts for three industries: healthcare, discrete manufacturing, and process manufacturing. Using live events, social networking sites, and telemarketing, SMB customers in these industries are learning about how Smart Business can provide the solutions they need at a price they want. And the prospects are responding; our ISV partners are already working on several leads, with much more to come in the new year.
Our events have been well attended and widely covered in the Indian media. You can learn more about everything that's happening in India by checking out our Events page. And over the next several months, we'll be expanding the regions and industries to target. If you have an existing sales channel in India and are not currently working with us, contact me and we'll discuss the opportunities in more detail.